tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 6, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EST
tower heist. let's play "hardball." i'm chris matthews in boston. leading off tonight, leading the circus. the republican clown show has found its ringmaster. guess who's now hosting a debate right before the iowa caucuses. that's right, the king of the birthers, the sorcerer's apprentice himself. and one by one, they're climbing the tower to kiss his ring. first to arrive is the man with the tab at tiffany's. now he's in hock to donald trump. newt came to new york today for trump's blessing, calling the tycoon a true american icon. but trump is now something phenomenal indeed. he's the ringmaster of the republican clown show. also tonight, mitt versus newt. with herman cain's exit, the republican race comes down to this.
on one side, the perfectly presented if not sufficiently conservative mitt romney. on the other, the gladitorial former speaker of the house. newt's surging in iowa right now and closing the gap in new hampshire, and that's got romney sweating, if he could sweat. and that leads to this, which candidate, newt or mitt, does president obama and his people want to run against? would the obama campaign rather face a flame thrower like newt, who has a ton of baggage, or the genteel romney who has trouble with consistency and connection with people. and later, the penn state scandal, the sex scandal has come back. jerry sandusky, the former assistant football coach accused of sex crimes against young boys speaks out, again. in another incredible interview, sandusky says he was a father figure whose actions have been twisted by prosecutors. but amazingly, he says, he was attracted to boys, adding, "and girls," before his attorney cut him off.
let me finish tonight with the news that the republican clown show has, yes, indeed found its ringmaster. we start with donald trump and the republican field. howard fineman is "the huffington post" media group editorial director and david korn is an msnbc political analyst. earlier today, trump was asked whether the obsession with the president's birth certificate would take over the debate he's about to "moderate." let's listen. >> i think there are some campaigns, and i've talked to them about this, that are concerned that you're going to use this to push, for instance, your obsession about the president's birth certificate. are you going to do that at this debate? >> no, i'm not. >> you're going to keep it out of the debate? >> look, the most important issue is jobs. whether or not he was born here, you know, to me, it means something, but i guess it doesn't mean a lot to a lot of people. but to me, it happens to mean something. the fact that they can't find any records in the hospital, that his mother was ever in the hospital, that to me means
something, but a lot of people don't care. >> well, on april 27th, the white house released the president's birth certificate, just to clear up this mess that he has left behind, trump, just to clear it up, the long form birth certificate proving his birth in a hawaii hospital, and right here is his mother's signature at the hospital, stanley ann dunham obama, proving she was at the hospital for the delivery. i don't know what more information -- the mother, and the name of the hospital was the kapiolani maternity and gynecological hospital. let me start with howard fineman. why would a republican guy like newt gingrich, with a brain, who was once speaker of the house and the leading republican in this country climb trump tower to kiss the ring of a non-officeholder, noncandidate, a political nonentity. please explain the debasement that even this clown show seems to be willing to descend to.
>> a couple things, chris. first of all, newt gingrich is the guy who's been talking about how he wants seven lincoln/douglas-style pure, endless, serious debates with president obama. but in the meantime, he wants to engage in this circus, as you rightly call it. i saw newt last night, spoke to him at the kennedy center honors, of all places. this is not the guy who's out campaigning. he's not shaking hands in iowa. he's looking to surf any publicity or glitz wave he can find. that's why he's working the crowd at the kennedy center honors. that's why he went up to new york today to see donald trump. we have a dozen reporters on the ground in iowa, chris, for "the huffington post" and our companion company, patch.com. our reporters out there are saying that newt is very poorly organized for the caucuses. but that's not the way he's thinking. he's thinking in terms of pure publicity and media wave, and he'll go stand next to anybody or do anything to the system --
and by the way, these are not debates. they've never really been debates. this will be the least debate-like of them all. he doesn't care. he just wants to be on tv so he can raise his profile more. >> you know, to call this barnum & bailey, david korn, is to raise it in status. this is a low-level, one of those european circuses that come by. you saw them in the small aa towns, outside of town for a couple of weeks. it's pathetic. and there is newt, blasting his way into it. what a perfect duet of despair, he and trump. but trump is playing this without ever doing a thing. he's not risking his reputation, he's not risking the kind of inquiry you get if you run for office, he's not filing for office, and there he is threatening to run as a third party candidate, threatening to jump into the republican debate, meanwhile hosting a debate, and these characters out of a clown show are willing to participate with him. they have a 50/50 chance at the presidency and they're turning it into this craziness. >> well, you know, asking donald trump to moderate a debate is kind of like asking newt
gingrich to officiate at a wedding. it's just not what you want to do. it doesn't send a good message. it doesn't send a good message about your party. i mean, mitt romney, who hasn't said yes, and i'm not sure he will, but hasn't said yes, what will it look like if he's there being grilled by donald trump on any one of a number of different conspiracy theories. at one point, mitt romney will have to break away from this pack and show that he's serious. it may come at this moment in time. but we know why donald trump -- what he's into this for. it's, you know, like you said, like howard said about newt and publicity. donald trump will leverage whatever he can. he leveraged bankruptcy back into billions of dollars. this guy doesn't care about what anybody else thinks, other than whether he gets his name in the headline and it advances maybe his tv show or the next casino or the next political debate. >> yeah, okay. let's take a look at this. republican candidates jon huntsman and ron paul have declined to participate in this joke. they're not going to do the
trump event, and trump took the opportunity to take a swipe at, of course, at huntsman and his religion. this is what he does. he goes after tribe -- he accused barack obama of being from some other country. he accused huntsman of being from some religion that he likes to make fun of. this is tribalism at its worst. this is bringing the values at its worst. >> i think most of the important candidates will come. huntsman has 1% of the vote. i don't think he's coming. and by the way, mr. huntsman called my office a number of times trying to set up a meeting. i didn't have a meeting with him. and then he went on the debate and said, i didn't meet with mr. trump like everybody else in the room. so, you know, i'm sure he'll tell the truth about that, because he's a mormon. >> well, after that attack on the guy's religion, a spokesman for huntsman responded and said, "you'll be surprised to find that it's mr. trump who's not telling the truth here. we never requested a meeting. we are focused on issues that matter, not presidential apprenticeships." i guess it is the republican campaign.
i guess newt is surging. and howard, we have to cover it. but this has become a desperate trail route to the white house that you have to go through trump tower. it is a -- it's a tower heist. it's a heist of the republican nominating process. gl this is a parody of the way the republicans used to run thing. they used to have a process, they used to have a wait-in-line system. they used to have, you run and you run again and then you get the nomination. they had a royalist tradition that really went all the way back to the 19th century that pretty much ended with george w. bush. donald trump is a parody, a nightmare version of a republican kingmaker. this is the opposite of a smoke-filled room. this is the opposite of the way the republican party used to operate. and i'll tell you what, donald trump has another interest here, i think. he wants to sow as much chaos as possible in the off-chance, as
silly as it may sound, that it somehow may rebound to his benefit, in a third party candidate or whatever. he benefits from situations of chaos. he's the master of chaos. he's the master of chaos. and people like newt gingrich, desperate for the publicity, are perfectly willing to play into it. and you know -- >> so, howard, to follow your point there. remember how he bet on red or black, whatever, it was a 50/50 bet on the papers not showing up for barack obama being a legitimate, american-born citizen. his 50/50 bet ended up on black rather than red, or the other way around. but here it is, it looks to me, you start with this, david, i think he's betting on newt gingrich losing finally in the end, you know, after a long camp fight, to romney, and then he jumps in at that point. that creates this opportunity. he is betting that romney will win, because if newt runs, there's no room for him. >> well, i think -- i agree with howard he's probably more into
chaos than organized political strategy. he's like the joker of the gop race at this point in time. whatever throws everything up in the air. i can't believe at the end of the day that he is serious enough, disciplined enough to do what has to be done to run for president. i don't think he's that smart or that clever. i think he sees an opening now, maybe he can turn this into his next tv show -- >> no, he's had that. he's done that. he's done all that. >> but seriously, i just don't see him truly lining up every four years. he comes along and says, i might run for president. there's no one else who does that who's serious. >> if this is the deliberate debate -- >> i know, we all feel like charlie brown if he does that. here he is, howard. trump still leaves open the option that he'll run for president himself. here he is on the "today" show. let's listen to trump on "today." >> well, as you know, and the equal time provisions don't allow me to run until may when i'm a free agent.
but the fact is if the wrong candidate is nominated to run, if i think it's a candidate that's not going to win and not very good, and that could happen, i guess, and if the economy continues to be bad, and i think it will, because i think we have incompetent leadership, i would certainly think about running. >> but you flirted with this a lot -- >> you know, howard, i just love watching matt lauer, who's a real pro, obviously, watching him just sort of laugh. he's just laughing at the guy, where he's all this stern -- like he's a serious candidate. matt's just watching it, enjoying it, you know, who knows? >> he was watching it, but the fact was that donald trump was on the show. >> that's true. >> and i think it's either an intentional or unintentional debasement of politics. what's happening is that politics in this country is becoming more than, i think, any time in our lifetimes, in modern history, becoming a joke. i don't want to give another --
>> howard, i disagree with you. no, no, no. it's not bipartisan. the fight between hillary clinton and barack obama was heavyweight territory. >> that's right. >> serious issues. the war was at the center of it, i believe. it is nothing to laugh at that. that was a dead serious contest. this is on the republican side and it's a clown show against a serious competition we saw. >> but why are they -- i don't think it's all accidental. i'm asking a question, not providing information here, i'm wondering why. i'm wondering why they want to. it seems like they want to debase the nature of politics. and i think that's a very corrosive thing. >> but they've also lost control. you know, their policy agenda is to debase government. you know, to discredit government. >> they don't want a leader. >> and when you start to do that, you don't care about who governs then. if you don't care about government, why not michele bachmann or herman cain? why not? >> anyway, i don't think they like government or leadership or politics, really, politics, they
don't like democratic government. they don't like having a leader. they like to bring -- these are guys who tear down statues, they don't put them up. anyway, thank you, howard, fineman. >> david answered my question. >> glad to do that. >> glad we got to it. thank you. coming up, as the republican race boils down to a two-man fight, it looks like, who would president obama like to run against? he doesn't have the choice but it seems like he's showing a choice here. newt or mitt? let's see if we can find out which one they're hoping to run against. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] in 189, a small town pharmacist set out to create a different kind of cold remedy using powerful medicine and natural ingredients from around the world. he called it vicks vaporub. today, the vicks journey continues. introducing new vicks nature fusion cold & flu syrup. powerful multi-symptom medicine flavored with natural honey instead of artificial flavors and dyes. so you can feel good about what you take to feel better.
i've been up here traveling through new england with overwhelming crowds with people coming out to hear about my book, "jack kennedy: elusive hero." the people have been wonderful up here in springfield, of course in new hampshire, in two big events over the weekend in rhode island. tonight i'm being honored at the historic old north church with mike barnicle as the master of ceremonies. tomorrow i'm going to be in chicago as a guest of the rosie o'donnell show and then a big
book party at the prestigious standard club. this thursday, i'm going to be in minneapolis at the westminster town hall forum. it's been an honor to encourage people to get out and bring back a great american hero this christmas. the true story of jack kennedy's heroism is a gift i think we all need now. we'll be right back.
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political circumstance is. and that is not what you want in a president of the united states. >> and here's the same ax, giving a shove, by the way, at gingrich earlier today on "the daily rundown." >> i was amused by the newt gingrich ad, by the way, because he talked about he's going to bring the country together to solve problems. you're talking about the godfather of gridlock here. the guy who two decades ago really invented the kind of tactics that have now become common place in washington. so this is a whole new newt. >> well, congresswoman, let me ask you a more narrow question than who would you like to see. let me ask you this, can you size up a debate between the president, barack obama, and newt gingrich. how would that debate go on, say, over four nights on national television? >> well, i think it would be pretty clear, if voters in the republican primary decide that they want a consistent conservative, who's extreme on the issues that matter the most
to middle class americans, than, you know, newt gingrich will be their guy, and you know, a debate between president obama and candidate newt gingrich would be a very clear contrast between someone who has clearly and consistently fought to move this economy forward, fought to bring both sides together, stood for the notion that we can't have it all our way, and that we need to work together, and a guy who as david axelrod said, sort of was the governor of gridlock. so that's really how i would size up a debate between the two of them. but this is -- >> i think you're being kind. i think you're being kind. >> well, i'm a kind person. >> i think newt gingrich was out there campaigning for climate change -- action on climate change in that tv ad with speaker pelosi. he was definitely for an individual mandate at the heritage foundation. then he came out and trashed the president's exact same proposal.
i mean, he has been all over the place on issues. i don't know where his consistency lies. >> i mean, that seems to be the thread running through the entire field of republican candidates. they seem, this is a collection of candidates who are desperate to do anything, say anything to woo their electorate, their voters to support them, rather than stick to principles and embrace the notion that when you're running for office or you're serving in office, you have to stand up for the courage of your convictions and be measured on those convictions, not stick your finger in the wind and choose a conviction on any given day that works for you politically. >> here's the president, president obama today taking on republicans in congress with what he seem -- seems to be a winning argument, that sounds -- actually, it begins to sound like the old republican argument of cutting taxes to help the economy. here's the president on the side of tax cutting on this issue of the payroll tax cut extension. let's listen to the president.
>> my message to congress is this. keep your word to the american people and don't raise taxes on them right now. now's not the time to slam on the brakes. now's the time to step on the gas. now's the time to keep growing the economy, to keep creating jobs, to keep giving working americans the boost that they need. >> well, congresswoman, i'm with him on this, but that does sound a bit like the republican argument, the supply side argument of cutting taxes. >> no, what it sounds like is a president who has led for his entire presidency on fight for the middle class and making sure that we don't have the government's tax cutting policy focused exclusively on the wealthiest, most fortunate americans. this morning, chris, in my congressional district, i stood with two single parents, a single father and a single mom, both working in jackson's ice cream parlor in south florida, who if the payroll tax cut isn't extended, would have another
1,000 that they would lose. and as single parents, they detailed for, you know, my community how difficult and challenging that would be. the woman had tears in her eyes when she learned that she would possibly have another $1,000 in costs if that payroll tax cut isn't extended. she didn't know what she was going to do. that's what the president's fighting for. unfortunately, on the other side, we have cynical politicians like mitt romney who don't understand that we night to fight for the middle class, who call a payroll tax cut a little band-aid. who say that we should let the whole foreclosure crisis hit bottom and allow people to come in and scoop up the properties and sell them for a profit and never mind whether we actually let people remain in their homes. i mean, this is the dramatic contrast that we will have if it's a mitt romney versus barack obama campaign. we need to know, americans need to know that their president is fighting to improve the quality of life for the middle class and give everybody the opportunity
for prosperity and the american dream. >> well, it's great to see a democrat standing up so strongly for president obama. your party seems to be getting united here, but i think you're the leader of it so far. >> well, thank you. >> great to have you on at any time. congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz of florida. on right now, john heilemann, contributing editor at the "new york" magazine. sir, this is really simple. i guess you never get a straight answer. you can ask for it, you'll never get it. will they ever tell us who they least want to run against or least want to debate, or are they two separate questions, mitt or newt? >> they would much rather run against newt gingrich than mitt romney. let's start by saying that i think the white house and the president's re-election campaign are quite confident in either one of those rivals. i think they feel like they can beat mitt romney and i think they feel like they can beat newt gingrich, even despite a lot of the headwinds that the president's facing, they look at those two candidates and they think they're both seriously flawed and that the president is a much better political performer than either one of them and would take on either one of them handily.
but mitt romney is a much more appealing candidate to a lot of moderate voters, a lot of swing voters. he's much more capable of staying focused on the economy, which is clearly a weak point for president obama. i think they think he's more dangerous, you can and see that in terms of who they spend most of their time attacking. they spend most of their time attacking mitt romney not, at least so far, newt gingrich. >> but gingrich is so much smarter in terms of debate platform performance. i can imagine, and you know this as well as i do, one guy goes out with his punch ready to go, that'll be romney. he's going to punch him. president obama with the help of his staff has figured out what the counterpunch is. the thing about newt, he'll think up something in real-time from that counterpunch, how to do a rebuttal, a slammer right back at him, whereas mitt romney will be like one of those english spiders, like chuck webb, they've got one punch in their entire arsenal and they just fall on their face. they're lead-footed. isn't romney more lead-footed than mitt? mitt can move around that floor
much faster. >> i think there's a pretty decent amount of consensus and i think it's appropriate that there's been a consensus that mitt romney has actually emerged as a pretty good debater and he's done a nice job. i think he's been the class of the field by far, that may not be saying much, but class of the field so far in this republican field on every debate stage he's been on. newt gingrich is no doubt a more nimble intellect, or at least a more gumby-like intellect than mitt romney's, but that can be a strength and it can be a weakness. and you never know what you're going to get with newt gingrich. the there's some challenges that presents to a debater, but i think president obama's self-conception of being a calm, solid, stable, responsible, also quick on his feet, i think he feels like going up against newt gingrich, you might have to do a little bit more gymnastics to keep up with him in the ring, but that people don't want that in a president. they want constancy and stability. >> i think newt's look those ghosts on "christmas carol." they're awful to deal, but once you've gotten past them, you get
to be president. it will be more fun and more charming to debate romney, but you might lose to him. anyway, thank you very much, john heilemann. that's my weird assessment of things. it's better to debate one guy, but probably better to campaign against the other. up next, out with a bang. herman cain's announcement saturday that he's suspending his campaign was perfect timing for the crew at, guess where, at "saturday night live." their take on cain's exit, next in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
back to "hardball." by the way, that was chuck webb there, the bay-owned bleeder i was referring to, not someone over in england. anyway, first up, going out with a bang. that might not be the best way to describe herman cain's recent exit from the 2012 presidential race, but at least somebody scored with the timing of the cain train derailment. "saturday night live." let's watch the "snl" take on the pizza ceo's crash and burn campaign. >> i am innocent until proven guilty! that's what this country is all about. if i can't have that, i may as well and go on and move to labibia. >> you mean libya? >> no, i think i mean labibia. you know, the momo godofia place. >> that's definitely libya. >> hold on, now. slow down.
just slow your rolls a little bit. let me just figure this out in my head a little bit. libby, libby, labiby. you see, this has been an example of the media sabotaging me. >> the only people that might miss cain more than his supporters who already seem to be flocking to newt gingrich are definitely the writers of late-night comedy. but anyway, don't worry, they won't be scraping the bottom of the barrel for material. yesterday at the kennedy centers honors event in washington, stephen colbert took to the stage ready to do anything but spare the republican clown show. see if you can figure out who he was jabbing with this one. >> good evening, mr. president. mrs. obama. distinguished honorees. unregistered lobbyists. >> newt gingrich, anyone? anyway, newt's been taking heat in recent weeks for raking in over $1 million from freddie mac
and framing his role as a, quote, historian. and yes, he was in attendance for the shout-out from colbert. president obama also spoke yesterday at a reception for the star-studded event. and in addition to shining a light on each of the honorees for their accomplishments, he pointed out one who might have something to offer to the political scene, specifically, the gridlock on capitol hill. let's take a look at this one. couldn't see this one coming. >> maybe the most amazing thing about yoyo mah is everybody likes him. you've got to give me some tips. it's remarkable. he's been named one of "people" magazine's sexiest men alive. he has appeared on "sesame street." i thought about asking him to go talk to congress. >> that smile's worth a million bucks. anyway, i think somehow yoyo mah is fine with his non-political presence in d.c.
and casting call, some members of the 2012 presidential race may be ill-equipped to take on the white house, but massachusetts representative barney frank who recently announced he will not run for reelection thinks the pack is perfectly suited for a remake of the 1930 smash hit "the wizard of oz." let's see how he divvies up the roles. >> for the republican debate, i've been casting "the wizard of oz." obviously mitt romney is the tin man without a heart. rick perry is clearly the scarecrow. let me say about rick perry -- he illustrates the point that what's scary about some people is not what they don't know, but what they know that isn't true. newt's the wizard of oz. you think newt -- there's nothing there. i think he's ginned up this whole big thing. >> pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. anyway, now him, we'll really miss. but to be fair to the wizard of oz, all those characters did have something redeeming in them, the movie characters.
here's what's happening. the u.s. military says it's unlikely anything useful or valuable survived the crash in an unmanned surveillance drone in iran. it was flying a mission over western afghanistan when they lost control and it ended up crashing on iran's side of the border. standard & poor's is putting 15 of the 17 members of the european union on negative credit watch. that could cause real problems for ministers trying to put together a bailout fund there. the postal service is announcing drastic cutbacks aimed at keeping it from defaulting on a massive health payments benefit. it's cutting about 28,000 jobs.
and in florida, the navy says it doesn't know where this training mine that washed up on miami beach same from but they say they only contain a small explosive chart very difficult to set off. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." it's been a busy day in republican presidential politics as candidates scramble to pick up the pieces from the fallout of herman cain's suspended campaign. thanks to a new nbc marist poll, we're getting some indication of where cain's supporters may likely go in the early primary states. the nbc/marist poll also shows just how dramatically newt gingrich has surged into front-runner status. he now leads the pack in iowa and is catching up to mitt romney, even in new hampshire. newt certainly has a lot of detractors among prominent conservatives, but right now he
also has the momentum in the race, while mitt romney's support continues to flat line. michael steele's the former chair of the republican national committee, and ed rendell is the former democratic national chair, and of course, the former governor of pennsylvania. both gentlemen are msnbc political analysts. let's look at some of these new numbers from the nbc/marist poll. in iowa, newt gingrich, the clear front-runner now. he's got 26% among likely republican caucus goers. romney is eight points behind with 18%, followed closely by ron paul. in new hampshire, mitt romney still leads with 39%, but newt gingrich has 23% and is climbing rapidly. if you look at the trend lines in both iowa and new hampshire, newt gingrich has made major gains while romney has slipped. in iowa, gingrich is up 21%. in new hampshire, he's up 19%. romney, on the other hand, lost 8%. and 6% of those two states since
october. let me go to the home court right now with michael steele. it's your party. read the tea leaves. what's happening? >> well, what's happening right now is you're seeing that shift that you alluded to, certainly in gingrich's favor. the interesting thing about the polling right now, chris, is, who is the backup? where do these folks go, let's say, if gingrich stumbles. and the interesting thing is mitt romney. and so mitt romney is holding on, barely in the first place spot, but he is the fallback if, for example, gingrich has an oops moment and starts to lose that traction. so if i'm mitt romney's team, i'm not all that concerned, necessarily, because right now, they're playing for the fumble. they are, you know, waiting for the conventional wisdom to play itself out, that gingrich is going to stumble somewhere soon before january 3rd or shortly thereafter. and if i'm gingrich, i'm going to play for the goalpost here.
i'm going to shoot for the stars and stay on the straight and narrow as long as and as hard as i can. so the next dynamic we're going to see played out is going to be leading up to that ballot box on january 3rd. >> what would you rather be, the guy running for the goalposts, running down the field, breaking away, or rather be the guy hoping that he stumbles? >> i would rather be the guy breaking away right now, to be honest with you. because i don't want to have to pin my future to someone else's failure or success. if i'm gingrich, i'll cut my own pathway. he knows he can't afford the screw-ups and the slip-ups, so i think you're going to see a steadier but quick campaign by gingrich. i think the romney folks will have to mix it up a little bit if they really want that fumble to occur. >> let's look at this from the other side of the field. governor rendell, you're looking at these two guys. there they are. they have track records. based upon their track records and the current momentum swing, who's winning this thing? it's all going to be over, by the way. look, we're talking about the 3rd of january now, coming on strong. less than a month.
we're talking about the new hampshire primary just about a month. this thing's happening. >> there's no question, chris. but mitt romney has an ally here that michael did mention, and that's rick perry. rick perry is sitting at about 9% or 10%. he's got a boatload of money and he's got to find a way to use it effectively. he's not going to get votes from mitt romney. the way he's going to get votes is if he can tear down newt gingrich. he has to go hot and heavy after newt gingrich on television. in fact, that tape of gingrich and pelosi talking about global warming, he's got to put 1,000, 1,500 points on television for the next two weeks, showing people that tape. it would shock the living daylights out of a lot of iowa conservatives who are trending right now towards newt gingrich. so mitt romney's got to do some of the banging himself, but he's going to have a pretty powerful ally in rick perry. they've got the same motive right now, and that's to bring newt gingrich down. >> let me ask michael -- how do
you see perry? do you see him alive enough to be even an attack dog? even if he can't win it, can he make noise and bring down newt? >> not effectively. i was going to see in response to the governor's point, the only way that strategy works is if perry doesn't engage directly himself. i think the fact of the matter is there's been so much that's already been placed in the minds of voters with respect to perry, not just on the issues, but how he has come across, you know, in terms of being presidential, that that may not necessarily be a helpful spot for mitt. but you may be right. if he can just run the ads and not do the personal appearances or any more debates, that may have a way to zing him. but i think in the end, those commercials with pelosi and gingrich were national commercials. the people in iowa have already seen them. the stuff about gingrich has already been baked into this thing, so it will take a heck of a lot more to unbake it. >> i disagree, chris. >> and the way that happens is if newt does it himself.
>> i disagree with michael. politics is my life, and i had never seen those pelosi and gingrich commercials before. i bet you no more than one or two out of 100 iowans have seen them. >> really? >> yeah. i think it's a shock to the sensibility of iowa conservatives to see any of their candidates sitting next to nancy pelosi. and you know i love nancy. but i also think, chris, that sometimes republican voters have to think about winnability. and if you're thinking about winnability, you almost instinctively got to go back to mitt romney. because take a look at the area you always talk about, chris, philadelphia suburbs, which wins elections in pennsylvania, are the moderate republicans, are the independents in the philadelphia suburbs going to feel comfortable voting for newt gingrich with all his baggage? i don't think so. will they feel comfortable voting for mitt romney, who's, you know, not as exciting, not as flamboyant, not as charismatic as newt? but i think there's a comfort level, a good businessman who's shown his ability to run things.
i think romney's got the winnability factor, still, in his favor. >> last word from michael? >> yeah, i was going to say, chris, that's where the governor has a good point. when you look beyond iowa and new hampshire, you get into open primaries. a lot more open primaries this year for republicans than they had certainly in the last two cycles. and so that creates an opportunity for mitt romney to gain some ground that he may lose in a state like iowa, but it also creates an opening for someone like a huntsman. and again, i don't count huntsman out. i think you're going to see a little bit more juice and firepower from him as you get into those open primaries. so it's going to be a very interesting little race between now and the end of january, beginning of february. >> and chris, if i can -- >> well, something's wrong -- >> one more thing? >> sure. >> if i can throw one more thing into the mix, i think you've got the potential. romney's going to stay because he's got a lot of money. newt is obviously going to be a factor. perry's got money down the stretch. perry's going to get the texas votes.
i think you have a real chance, if this goes state by state by state, now that the republicans have gone to proportional breakup of the delegates, like we have in the democratic party, you have a chance that you might have a convention with the opening gone and no one will have 50% of the vote. not very likely, but a real chance. >> that would be nice. >> it would be nice for us. >> gentlemen, i wish -- i feel good about our country when you two guys were on the air. i wish you two guys were the ones running the country, not these clowns. thank you michael, your party embarrasses me and you delight me. i'm using against them right now, by the way. up next, another amazing interview with the man at the center, from the sublime to the ridiculous, the penn state scandal has reared its ugly head again. jerry sandusky can't shut up. sandusky actually says he has attraction to, catch this phrase, young boys and, pause, girls, and his attorney shut him up. reaction from buzz bizzinger, with who's been really tough on this. this is "hardball" on msnbc. ide to find you a great deal, even if it's not with us.
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under aged boys? sexually attracted, you know, i enjoy young people. i love to be around them. i -- i -- but no, i'm not sexually attracted to young boys. >> we're back. it was former penn state assistant coach jerry sandusky in an interview with bob costas of nbc last month struggling to answer whether he was attracted to young boys. in an interview with "the new york times," he goes farther when discussing the costas question. his attorney amendola stes in. let's watch this disturbing comment by him. >> what in the world, this question, what is it -- you know, am i going to be -- if i say no, i'm not attracted to boys, that's not the truth because i'm attracted to young people, boys, girls --
>> yeah, but not sexually. you're attracted because you enjoy spending time -- >> right, i enjoy. that's what i was trying to say. i enjoy spending time with young people. i enjoy spending time with people. >> well, just why does sandusky keep talking? is he gaining support as he tries to defend himself? he writes for the "daily beast" and "vanity fair." thank you very much, for coming on. i know you didn't like this interview much. what are we getting out of this guy, sandusky, apart from the journalism, whatever quality we're getting? what is this guy's penchant for talking? >> i mean, all he does is mire himself further and further and further. i know, if you listen to the audio portion of "the new york times" interview, the reason amendola did this, there was one reason. he was trying to reverse the damage that had been done in the costas interview and specifically reverse the damage you just played, the sort of cause when costas asked him if
he was sexually attracted to young boys. amendola called this the equivalent of an open mike for sandusky which does disturb me journalistically, and i don't know, i think he's trying to put a human face on the guy. he convinces no one. i think he's thinking in the state of pennsylvania, there must be 20 people out there who feel some sympathy for the guy, but i think amendola is sending his client down the creek and that's fine with me, because i've said this before, i know it's innocent until prove guilty. i think in this case, you read the grand jury report, it's guilty until proven innocent. it should be particularly true of a newspaper interview. >> in effect, we're talking about rape here. i thought it was interesting in the article, wasn't there a lot of evidence there of premeditation, of deliberation, a long standing effort to shape these boys up for his purposes? all the wooing and giving them little treats and favors and
it's almost like the long term sort of growing whatever, a relationship, for a purpose of sexual gratification. it looks like. that's what's going on here. >> well, i mean, there's no question. i mean, he was, like, the spider and he's attracting these kids into this web. golf clubs, computers, $50 to get marijuana. these are big gifts to kids who are impoverished. you know, sneakers. attract them in, attract them in, get them in the web and then bingo. doing what he does. i mean, chris, it's 40 counts of serial sexual abuse, but if you take each individual act he is accused of including the civil suit that was filed last week, there were over 200 individual acts of rape, of oral sex, of groping, showering. you name it, this guy is allege to have done it. is everybody lying? is everybody lying? are nine victims lying? are we supposed to actually believe this?
>> yeah, i know. anyway, it's so sad. i hope we don't have to have you back on. you're the best writer out there. buzz, thanks for joining us. a hell of a writer. i agree with your -- i wish i could match your passion on this. this is worse than disturbing. this is penn state. when we return, let me finish with the grotesque pairing of donald trump and newt gingrich and what it says about today's, well, i guess they still call it the republican party, but any appearance or comparison to the old party of teddy roosevelt and dwight eisenhower and even ronald reagan. no comparison. this is the tea party going crazy. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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let me finish tonight with a question. how did the party of abraham lincoln and teddy roosevelt and dwight eisenhower and ronald reagan descend into a clown show? when did p.t. barnum grab a hold of the tea party and mix it into a brew of a tv debate led by donald trump? how did this of herman cain, bachmann, the grand remaster? how did the king of the birthers, and what sin did someone commit to unleash this torrent from hell on a once serious political party? i don't claim deep sympathy but it takes a deeply cold heart not to feel for those good minded republicans out there who have this grotesque leap before their
face. what happened to the moderate the and reasonable of the center right? did they go mute, lose their tongues, their right to speak out? are they watching what i'm watching? are they going to let this happen, chug along from here to tampa, anticipating this choice between a candidate who puts them to sleep and one who gives them night mares? is this what all the debates, all the speeches, wanderings has created a duet, karaoke of a choke hold? life's but a walking shadow. it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury symbolizing thing. newt gingrich, donald trump. let me say no more. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now. good evening,